With thousands of Americans now scrambling for a mortgage modification to forestall foreclosure, the scam artists are coming out of the woodwork. But avoiding a rip-off is easy… if you know what to look for.
“I was transitioning from one company to the next company and within a couple of months of that transition, the new company folded. So I fell behind mortgage payments”
-Miriam Terry, Homeowner
Miriam Terry was in the same position many Americans find themselves in today: facing foreclosure. And like many of her peers, her situation went from bad to worse when she became a victim of a rescue rip-off.
“They found Miriam. They called…they solicited her. And they told her they could refinance her and get her out of her troubled loan into a better loan.”
-Michael Sichenzia, Investigator
But what they did instead was fool Miriam into signing her house over to them. Then they borrowed against it and walked away with the money. They literally stole her house.
So how do you avoid becoming a victim? Here are three tip-offs to rescue rip-offs. First, don’t ever pay an up-front fee. Reputable people normally don’t charge them. Second, don’t ever, ever sign away your title…or anything else you haven’t thoroughly read and understood. And finally, be wary of fast talk. Loan modifications aren’t that complicated…you should easily understand everything that’s happening.
The simplest way to avoid a rip-off? Don’t answer ads. Instead, start with a non-profit housing counselor. You’ll find a list of them at the Housing and Urban Development website.
Bottom line? There’s a special place in hell for people who kick others while they’re down. But until they get there, don’t help them make money. Listen to your inner voice. And if you’re in doubt, you throw them out.